Local Government Reform

4th November, 2010

Fine Gael Environment Spokesman Phil Hogan TD has set out his Party’s plans to reform Local Government: ‘Power to the People – Bringing Local Government Back to the People’. This latest Fine Gael policy is another ambitious plan to completely shake up Government structures, and follows similar proposals for the Oireachtas, healthcare and education reform.

The Fine Gael plan will see Local Government become the primary driver of business support and development at local level. It will involve 95 State bodies being merged or abolished, saving millions of euros for taxpayers every year, and freezing local business rates for the next five years.

“Local Government must play an integral role in dragging Ireland out of recession and in driving job creation. However, Local Government is in limbo, if not in crisis. Local Government has lacked a strong primary mission for decades with power and services being devolved to unelected ‘quangos’. Fine Gael will change all that. Our plan, ‘Power to the People’, will see:
• Local Government become the primary driver of business support and development at local level. This will involve ending the wide-scale duplication of services among unelected bodies and bringing them under one roof in Local Authorities to create a one-stop-shop. Fine Gael-controlled Councils will freeze local business rates for the next 5 years;
• Ninety-five quangos merged or abolished: 53 bodies will be amalgamated into Local Government with the complete abolition of 42 more. This will result in an administrative saving to the taxpayer of over €70 million a year;
• In planning, separate transport and education plans need to be included in the planning process and in County and City Development Plans;
• Fine Gael will support a directly-elected Lord Mayor for Dublin City for a term of five years from 2014 provided that relevant, significant powers for the Mayor have been decided;
• Simple reforms in the structure of Local Government to improve services to both the public and elected representatives, including a special customer service unit which will be uniform across all local authorities based on best practice.

“We want to see savings and efficiencies rather than new taxes and charges. We need to restore trust, services and responsibility back to Local Government. Putting Local Government back into a central role in the community will result in greater community cohesion, better services, and more employment opportunities, all the while saving millions of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.”
Click here for document